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UK ISSUES FRES REQUIREMENT

17 Jun 02. The UK has issued the study programmes for FRES to a number of companies with the numbers expected to be eight from European and US companies
The UK has a requirement for a family of vehicles ranging from Direct Fire recce, 120mm light carrier, UAV launchers, Infantry Carrier, Ambulance, in a family similar to the Alvis CVR(t) family of the 70’s. The numbers range from 1500 to 2000 vehicles with procurement initial gate by the end of 2002 and a main gate approval in 2004 from the Investment Approval Board (previously EAC). BATTLESPACE discussed the future of the TRACER/FSCS project with Colonel Peter Flach, who will soon be taking over his new job as Army Head of DESO. Flach told BATTLESPACE that the FSCS/TRACER technology will pull through to FRES. He regretted that budgetary problems had caused the cancellation of the programme and that the contractors concerned would have to wait until 2004 to provide the technology developed for TRACER to FRES.

BATTLESPACE expects bidders for FRES to include BAE SYSTEMS, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Alvis, utilising Hägglunds technology, KMW, Thales and United Defence. Singapore Technologies is expected to bid via its US Subsidiary. Neither FRES nor FCS in the USA has a dedicated wheels vs tracks final decision, with the expected outcome being a mixed fleet for both requirements. Three versions of FRES are expected to be tracked.

Although the TRACER/FSCS budget expires in July, both teams are continuing to demonstrate their capability for technology pull-through to FRES. We reported on the SIKA team vehicle in the March issue during AUSA and we now report on the Team Lancer vehicle which can be seen at Army 2002.

The BAE SYSTEMS-led LANCER team has successfully reached a further major milestone on the joint UK/US Tactical Reconnaissance Armoured Combat Equipment Requirement/Future Scout Cavalry System (TRACER/FSCS) programme with the start of full systems field testing of the Medium Weight armoured integrated demonstrator (ID) vehicle at the Larkhill and Hurn ranges, United Kingdom. The test programme involves several weeks of activity supported by UK and US Army crews.

These tests represent the final stage of the TRACER/FSCS Project Definition/Advanced Technology Demonstrator (PD/ATD) phase, which began in February 1999. Lessons learnt will now feed future development programmes including the Future Rapid Effects System (FRES) in the UK and Future Combat System (FCS) in the USA.

A major aim of TRACER/FSCS was to identify and reduce the risks of employing leading-edge technologies for use in future full-scale design and manufacture programmes, for Medium Weight vehicles operating in the digitized battlespace.

Within the systems integration environment supplied by BAE SYSTEMS C4ISR, the LANCER team partner companies met the challenge of the PD/ATD phase by combining world-class expertise in all the main sub-systems such as sensors, C4I applications, electronic controls, communications, mobility and survivability. Consequently, all the key functional areas of the LANCER fully integrated demonstrator vehicle feature the latest, de-risked emerging technologies applicable to future land systems environment solutions:
* A fully integrated C-130 transportable system design
* An innovative mast-mounted sensor suite featuring extended range FLIR, optical and radar sub-systems
* Advanced C4I applications and communications: multi-band, multi-mode radios, with the FBCB2 as the demonstrated option for an integrated battle management system
* Enhanced survivability employing, amongst other features, signature management, lightweight armour and a crew citadel
* Data fusion of on-board information with tactical internet data through a C3I suite of radios and electronics provides the crew with the ability to report or engage with indirect fire and precision munitions while outside of enemy weapons range
* Open electrical, electronic and software vetroni

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